Christmas is over for another year. I’ve eaten too much, had a couple of drinks (unusual for me) and been thoroughly spoilt. That means the Cooper household has a few more tabletop games to add to the collection.
I thought I’d work through our collection and try to give you the gist of each one. Maybe it will prove useful if you’re thinking of picking one up yourself.
Describe one of your cards (all of which gave beautiful artwork on them) with a word or sound. Everyone hands in a card of their own that they think matches what you said. People then vote on which they think is yours. You’re aiming to be specific enough that some people will pick the correct card, but not so specific that everyone gets it. More suited to the more creative types I think. Several people have been completely flummoxed by it, choosing such obvious words that they always get picked. Not my favourite but my wife loves it so much I bought her an expansion pack to give us more options.
King of Tokyo
The first tabletop game we picked up. Everyone loves this game! It’s the one we always use to introduce other people and it never fails to impress. Each player takes control of a huge beast/monster/robot and is aiming for either 20 points or to be the last one standing. Each game soon becomes either a ‘points’ game or a ‘you’re going down’ game as everyone does their best to knock the others out. In the time it takes you to set up Monopoly you could play a game of this. There’s no mucking around and it’s great fun.
Ticket to Ride
Our particular set is based on Europe, but there are plenty of different maps now. Each player has a selection of journeys they need to create on the map; longer journeys will gain the player more points when completed. To complete journeys you need to play the correct amount of coloured cards that match the colour of the route. You need some luck, but you need to plan ahead too. Several times I’ve took a seemingly useless small route, for it to prove invaluable later as it prevented others players finishing their routes. Not that I’d ever try to stitch anyone else up….
This one depends on your sense of humour. If you’re a fan of The Oatmeal then this is for you. Otherwise be prepared for some rather irreverent images. Each round your draw a card to put in your hand. If it’s an exploding kitten you’re out of the game, unless you have cards in your hand to deal with the feline. You can defuse them via laser pointers and belly rubs, or you can use other cards to skip your turn or make others pick up a card. Best of all though is the ‘nope’ card. Anyone can play a nope card at any time. Don’t like what someone is playing? Nope! But you can nope a nope, making it a yep! An easy to pick up game.
Batman Love Letter
Won’t get a full idea until we’ve played again with more than two people, but that one play made me hopeful. Last person standing wins each round and gains a bat-token. First to seven tokens wins overall. The deck is made of cards marked 1-8, all with different abilities. Each person is aware of what has already been played and what is left in the deck, so it’s half tactics and half figuring out what is likely to be played. Play the person or play the odds?
A real favourite amongst my family, tend to a Japanese garden and it’s panda inhabitants. Objective card must be matched by growing bamboo, planting plots of land and feeding the panda. Once a certain amount of objectives have been met by a player the objectives and their points are totted up. Highest wins. Looks complicated at first but it breaks down really nicely. The art is beautiful and the panda (plus the lady panda and babies in the expansion) are very cute.
As many players as you like.
Our warm-up game. It’s mainly about luck, and how far you’re willing to push it. Roll three dice and hope you get brains! Different colours dice give you a better or worse chance. I’ve not tired of telling people about the time I won on the first turn of the first round. We’ve added to it with a couple of expansions but only because we’ve played it so much.
We need to play this more often. You play as a monster or villain in charge of a dungeon. Each turn you build up your dungeon whilst heroes enter your dungeon in an attempt to wound you. If they make it through the rooms you build and get to you your receive a wound. If they die trying you receive a soul. Each hero is after a certain type of treasure, which different rooms contain. Whichever boss has the most of one type of treasure gets the heroes after that type. Horrible when you receive several heroes early on and they completely muck you up. Check out the sweet box too; it looks like a NES game. The overall design of this game is spot on.
A few months ago I borrowed this game for a family holiday in Crete. We ended up playing it every night. I don’t think I’ve ever played just one game at a time. Always 2 or 3 such is the pace and enjoyment. Once every one is clued up rounds take seconds as you each build up your own menu of cute little faces. Your hand changes each round as you pick out the best card for your tactics and then pass the hand to the next person. This lead to some people getting quite savvy and purposely playing a card that won’t benefit them just to prevent the next person getting it. Very playful, this is a great small footprint game that you can play anywhere.
Each tile contains a portion of a path. You follow the path you lay and need to stay on the board for as long as possible. Sounds easy, but when everyone is making their own path you can easily end up on someone else’s, and off the board. You need to plan ahead; we’ve found keeping to yourself only keeps you out of trouble for so long as you can’t avoid other tiles forever.
King of New York
A sequel of sorts to Tokyo, we haven’t played this yet but it looks suitably different to Tokyo that it won’t take its place.
I was given this on Christmas Day and it came into use the next day when there were 10 of us at our house. We needed something to liven up a large group and this did the trick. A counter in the middle counts down a random number of seconds each time it is pressed. Cards contain 10 words that you have to describe to your team mates without gesturing. Get one right and the card moves to the next team. Like hot potato, whoever is holding the card when the buzzer sounds loses.
Notice a pattern? When offered a theme of a game we pick Batman. Fluxx is all about continually evolving rules. Each hand played can change what the winning conditions are. Not at all frustrating when you’ve lined up your winning hand just to have it changed by the person before you. There are lots of different themed decks, you just need to find one that suits.
If you’ve got your own set of games let us know in the comments! Maybe you want to know more? Ask in the comments? Basically…get commenting!